This year Shae got inducted into the sorority of Mothers so naturally we had to do a little extra celebrating for Mother’s Day.
One of the popular Mother’s Day gifts are hanging baskets. A hanging basket can provide beauty for several months, fits nicely into gift spending price ranges, and coincides well with the normal growing season.
On Friday, we shopped around some of the locally owned nurseries to see what kind of hanging baskets they had.
Wow, what a lovely display of annuals. Here is another attractive arrangement.
Store prices range from $10 at big box retailers to upwards of $50 at Mom & Pop establishments. The ones shown above where 10″ plastic pots for $30.
We wanted 3 baskets to fill out our front porch and while we could have picked out 3 and called it a day we wanted a bit more of an experience. So we decided to try and make our own!
After striking out at two garden centers we finally found some nice Calibrachoas fresh off the growers truck at where of all places? Lowes. We also found Dwarf Coreopsis, a mounding perennial. To tie it all together we picked out an attractive metal and coconut lined 14″ hanging basket. In my opinion it looks far superior to the plastic bins that most pre made hangers come in. One advantage of larger basket sizes is that they hold moisture better than smaller baskets and that means less chance of the flowers drying out and wilting.
On a side note, don’t wear a red shirt and a front baby carrier to Lowes. I was asked by a gentlemen to get the forklift and load a pallet of stone into his truck. He was surprised when I informed him that I wasn’t an employee. Later, a woman asked me what time the store closed. Apparently wearing a baby screams Lowes employee to people. Who knew?
Anyway, back to the task at hand. I read that the coconut liners are prone to drying out and that a plastic liner should be used to help retain moisture. We made impromptu liners out of grocery bags and cut holes in the bottom for drainage.
Then we added a bit of enriched soil to the bottom of the pots. Container plants have to get all of their “food” from a finite amount of soil. Each time you water the plant, a little bit of the food is washed away from the roots. That is why it is important to add a time released fertilizer that will slowly leach food into the soil over the course of several months.
Here are our two Calibrachoa (mini petunias) baskets. There are 6 individual plants in each one and hopefully they will get much larger. Each basket weighs about 20 pounds when fully watered.
With the annuals all set to go it was time to work on the perennials.
The dwarf coreopsis were tightly intertwined with their neighbors and proved difficult to separate. Instead of trying to separate them at the store we just bought a carton. When we finally did get them pulled apart, we discovered that one of the pots was just dirt! A quick trip back to the store and a skeptical dirt poking clerk later we were back on track.
With the pots fully watered we proudly hung them up on our front porch. Aren’t they nice looking?
Happy Mother’s Day.
The E… WAIT!!!
STOP THE PRESSES. There is a problem.
All of these plants are full sun but they are in the shade. We figured that we either needed to lower the baskets down to the level of the railing or extend them out further from the house in order to get full sun. The latter seemed like a better option so I set about making some base plates for the metal extension hooks. These simple octagon plates are made from some scrap 1×4 with only a miter saw and router.
Now these sun loving plants can get all the rays that they need.
I also trimmed up all of the bushes so I can check that off my honey do list.
Making our own baskets didn’t save us much money this year because we had to buy the reusable baskets and extension hooks. They also aren’t as full bodied as the store bought versions. On the plus side our baskets have many positive memories associated with them and we learned a lot by doing this project. Next year we might try to start some annuals from seed and see if we can have any success.
Finally, it wouldn’t be a complete Mother’s Day post unless I included a couple of pictures of Grandmothers and Frugal Boy.